A good wrestling bout is a fight to the end. A great wrestling match is no different.
In a matchup of two league unbeatens, a third-period pin from senior Adam Miller in the final bout completed Cocalico’s comeback victory over host Manheim Central Tuesday night, 38-34, to wrest control of Section Two from the Barons with three dual meets remaining for both teams.
The win improves Cocalico’s record to 4-0 in the section, 9-2 overall as the Eagles vie for what head coach Matt Fittery believes may be Cocalico’s first Section Two Title.
“It’s awesome, it’s huge for our program. This is probably the best team that I can remember from Cocalico,” Fittery said. “We’re in good shape for a section title, in good shape for district duals but we have to wrestle hard the rest of the way.”
After Josiah Gehr offset Cade Zeamer’s major decision at 106 with a 15-0 tech-fall at 113 over Central’s Ryan Kreider, the stage was set for Miller’s bout with Ryan McKee at 120 with the Barons (3-1, 8-3) leading 34-32.
“Coming up to the match I was thinking, I wonder if it would come down to me at the end and sure enough it does,” Miller said. “I always wanted to be in one of these situations and so I was ready for it.”
Miller utilized a first-period takedown to grab the advantage heading into the second period, where, situated on bottom, McKee tried all sorts of moves to try and earn points and get back into the bout.
“I’m not the best bottom wrestler but I’m fairly good at not giving up points,” Miller said. “That’s definitely what helped me, up 2-0 in the first, going into the third up 2-0, it’s so much better than 2-1, 2-2.”
Both wrestlers received multiple cautions prior to the third but Miller closed out the bout, and the match, with the fall 33 seconds into the period.
“Knowing that I didn’t necessarily need a pin, just that I had to win definitely helped a little bit,” Miller said. “I just had to get after it, try and get a big lead. Pin happened and it was great.”
“You almost knew from the beginning its going to come down to the last match,” Fittery said, “and when you have an experience guy in Adam Miller coming in at the end, he knows how to win matches, he doesn’t panic.”
Central took match leads of 18-3 and 30-15 on the strength of five pins. But both Fittery and Central head coach Troy Sunderland referenced the number of tossup bouts that went the Eagles’ way.
“The thing that hurt us tonight were the close tossup matches,” Sunderland said. “We needed to win at 160 and 170 and it didn’t start the way we wanted to at 126. That was a tossup but we thought we were favored in that match.”
The Eagles’ Max Martin and Devon Sensenig earned a pair of decisions at 160 and 170 by a single point each, while Nate Fritz’s 3-1 decision over Central’s Zack Zeamer opened the match.
“That was a tough way to start. Our seniors came out tonight and did a great job, a lot of pins,” Sunderland said. “It was a total team effort; we just came up a little bit short. Props to Cocalico, they did what they needed to win a close dual tonight.”
Brock Fittery’s sudden pin of Cocalico’s Abdul Saad was perhaps the match of the night, each wrestler earning points before Fittery’s third-period reversal and pin gave Central a huge momentum swing.
But Cocalico countered at 220 and 285 with Ben Fromm and Brady Maxwell, who each earned decisive pins to climb back into the match at 30-27.
“I felt (Fittery’s pin) was a big momentum lift for the team and following with Jared (Siegrist at 195),” Sunderland said. “It was tough the last two pins there against us… the roller-coaster of momentum, it just went the other way to their advantage.”
“We know we have a strong lineup up there and even though we’re giving up points we’re confident we can come back,” coach Fittery said. “To their credit that just made them more fired up that we were down.”
Something that can be said about the trajectory of the Cocalico program.
“My freshman year, we had six to eight guys, we were lucky to win one match,” Miller explained. “We always talked about how just keep coming back at it, keep working, get this team up by the time we’re seniors. Sure enough, here we are.”
Cocalico 38, Manheim Central 34
At Manheim Central
126 — Nate Fritz (COC) d. Zack Zeamer, 3-1
132 — Caleb Enck (MC) p. Mason Patterson, 2:36
138 — Kyle Zeamer (MC) p. Devon Fichthorn, 1:01
145 — Connor Pavlik (MC) p. Wyatt Gehman, 1:54
152 — Trevor Fichthorn (COC) p. Connor Miller, 3:44
160 — Max Martin (COC) d. Andrew Siegrist, 4-3
170 — Devon Sensenig (COC) d. Isaiah Mejias, 3-2
182 — Brock Fittery (MC) p. Abdul Saad, 5:00
195 — Jared Siegrist (MC) p. Joe Bearinger, 0:49
220 — Ben Fromm (COC) p. Garrett Fittery, 3:01
285 — Brady Maxwell (COC) p. Elliot Martin, 2:18
106 — Cade Zeamer (MC) m.d. Trevor Hale, 9-1
113 — Josiah Gehr (COC) t.f. Ryan Kreider, 15-0
120 — Adam Miller (COC) p. Ryan McKee, 4:33